Central city, Things to do  |  7 Feb 2019

Live bands have been bringing some swing and an upbeat jazz vibe to New Regent St this summer with help from a fund aimed at livening up the city.

Local business owner Rachelle Hunt, who runs the Heart and Soul Gallery, came up with the New Regent Street Summer of Music project to attract more visitors on the weekends.

She approached Christchurch City Council’s Enliven Places Projects Fund for support and received support to hold a series of free lunchtime jazz performances held in front of a vacant shop on the Spanish Mission-style street during December and January.

Ms Hunt says the concerts were a big success but they wouldn’t have happened without the Council funding.

“The style of music really suits the street, it’s a jazzy New Orleans type of feel. Without the Enliven Places funding we wouldn’t have been able to do it and people wouldn’t have been able to come and enjoy the music. The amount of positive responses I’ve had from people has been unreal and we had people dancing in the street."

The Council’s Enliven Places Projects Fund, which aims to transform under-utilised spaces into vibrant and interesting areas, has been running since 2012 with about 70 projects funded so far.

They include the Little Andromeda pop-up theatre in the Central City which hosted more than 90 performances inside a black tent on Gloucester St for several weeks late last year, the Stitch-O-Mat community sewing group in New Brighton, Up and Away theatre company performing for babies, and Cultivate Christchurch’s urban farm.

Applications for further grants from the fund for the current year are welcome until May.

The Council’s Head of Urban Design, Regeneration and Heritage Carolyn Ingles says the Fund is a way to support projects that help make Christchurch a unique and upbeat place.

“We’re looking for ideas that really do enliven the city, temporarily activating vacant spaces in innovative and creative ways for our residents and visitors to enjoy."

Information about the Enliven Places Projects Fund is available on the Council’s website, including the criteria which projects need to meet. A pre-application meeting with the Enliven Places Project Fund team is required and if help is needed to find a site the organisation Life in Vacant Spaces can assist. 

For more ways to enliven spaces in your neighbourhood, check out the Shape Your Place Toolkit